Checking Out : Maithri Jansz

Apr 10 2017.

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A Middle School teacher specialising in Special Education, Maithri currently lives in the Philippines. She counts bird watching, photography, cooking exotic food and cake decorating as her hobbies. She likes travel, nature and sightseeing and dislikes apartment living and big city life. 

Next to the Hachiko dog statue at Shibuya Station


Favourite travel destination? 
Having lived outside of Sri Lanka for over 10 years now, I would say coming back home is what I look forward to most. However, if I had to pick one place we as a family enjoyed more that any other, it would be Japan. Japan was the easiest trip to organise and execute. Even if a lot of the information displayed in the country was in Japanese, there are numerous technological tools to help you out. For example phone apps that can translate Japanese to English. In Japan there was something for everyone; tech stuff for my husband, anime for my kids and nature and history for me; and of course sushi!

What do you never travel without?  
My camera!

Favourite cuisine?
That’s an unfair question! I am a foodie. So it is really difficult for me to pin down one type of cuisine as my favourite. But, if I had to say which country I enjoyed food the most, it would be Taiwan. With a variety of local, international, and fusion food, Taiwanese street food is definitely foodie heaven!

Scary travel experience?
The scariest experience we’ve had was when once, during my kids' toddler years, we went down to Hikkaduwa as a large group, and my second child, for a brief period of maybe 20 minutes,"got lost". It all ended well, she was found by a member of the hotel staff and was happily seated on the front desk counter lapping up all the attention, but it was definitely one of the scariest moments of my life. 

Top travel tip? 
Research. Read as much as you can online about what you can do, see; where you can stay; etc. and be prepared for things not to go according to plan. 

Where would you go if you could live in any other country than Sri Lanka?  
I grew up reading Gerald Durrell, the naturalist who spent his childhood years on Corfu. The images of his rustic life on a Greek Island are deeply etched in my mind. Of course his life is highly romanticized in his writing and I don’t believe it would ever be the same for a South Asian like myself, but, occasionally, I like to imagine the idyllic life that could be on an island off the coast of Greece. 

Where did you last go on holiday? 
Subic Bay, Philippines. This is a former US Naval base. Many of of the houses reflect American colonial architecture. We stayed at a hotel built around an old colonial house. Much of Subic is still heavily forested and is a bird watcher’s paradise. Along the bay, there are many restaurants for one to enjoy good food and a view (perhaps if you are lucky, a glimpse of an American military naval ship docked in the harbour). 

Best travel memory?
Train ride across the USA. I love trains. As a child, growing up in Sri Lanka, my mother would on these random trips a cross the country. I found no greater joy than hanging out of the train window to watch the scenery ebb slowly by. I attribute my love of nature and travel to my mother and those random adventures she took us on. 

Next big adventure?
Back home for the summer break! Coming home is a time for us to enjoy our roots; for our children to experience their home country, culture, and time with family and old friends… and of course Sri Lankan food!

Travel agent or internet booking?
We have always used internet bookings; no issues so far. 

What do you enjoying doing most while on holiday? 
Sightseeing and taking pictures. I am also a history buff so I enjoy seeing monuments of historical value and learning about them. Of course seeing an unusual bird and getting in a lifer on my list is definitely a bonus!

Top five travel destinations you have visited? 
1)    Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima)
2)    Taichung, Taiwan
3)    Albay, Philippines
4)    Phuket, Thailand
5)    Badulla by train

Peace Park, Hiroshima

Who would be your perfect travel companion? 
My husband J (if we can stop arguing about whose fault it was that we missed that turn off the highway; who wouldn’t like a little romance thrown into the journey?!)  

Family portrait at Manga museum

Road trip or plane ride?
No argument on that. Road trip. People these days are in so much of a hurry to reach their destination, they forget the journey: and getting there can be the best part. 



Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is a journalist specialising in travel, fashion, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also the Deputy Editor for Hi!! Magazine. An intrepid traveller, she likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno [email protected]


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